LOS ANGELES — Remember how rough high school could be?

“The Prank,” a high school dark comedy, starring Rita Moreno as the ruthless physics teacher Mrs. Wheeler.

When Ben, played by Connor Kalopsis, and his entire physics class is failed by Mrs. Wheeler after a student cheats on an exam, Ben and his friend Tanner, played by Ramona Young, hatch a plan to ruin her life and frame her for a murder on social media.

Soon after, conspiracy theories engulf the entire community.

Maureen Bharoocha, who directed “The Prank,” said we live in a world that everyone is influenced by social media.

“At the time we were making the movie, we weren’t even talking about AI. It is even more forefront. And, I definitely have people in my family that maybe have … their brains have been consumed by social media. It is kind of a tale for everybody to be wary of what you see online, and how far you can take revenge,” she said.

Rita Moreno, in an interview with Spectrum News, said she loved playing Mrs. Wheeler, whom she called “a snake of a woman.”

“She is the most evil creature in life,” said Moreno.

And where did Moreno find her inspiration to play such a villain?

“It was very easy to play her. All I did was think about all the (explicit) in my life who did terrible mean things to me. That’s how my character was born,” she said.

For Kalopsis, he tells Spectrum News that working alongside Moreno is one of his greatest acting achievements.

“She’s legendary. She is iconic. She graced us with her presence, kindness and humor,” said Young.

As far as pranks, Young says she watches others do them, but Kalopsis says he doesn’t do conventional pranks.

“I used to wreak havoc on my teachers when I was in high school,” he said.

Was playing their character hard for them? For Kalopsis, he says he was more of a Ben when he was in high school and Young said she identifies with Tanner, but without the pranks.

At 92, Moreno says retirement is not part of vocabulary. She is thriving, having a good time and spreading joy.

“I am having the time of my life. Why the hell would I want to give up all this fun? I am staying,” she said.

What is her secret to life?

“You know what? Joy! I like to spread joy,” Moreno said.

“The Prank” also stars Kate Flannery, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak, Betsy Sodaro and Romel Del Silva.

“The Prank” is now playing in theaters.

Click the link above to watch the full interview with Rita Moreno, Connor Kalopsis, Ramona Young and Maureen Bharoocha.


Facebook Twitter